Kaamatan Celebration in KDCA 2017

Kaamatan Celebration in KDCA 2017

Kaamatan Celebration in KDCA 2017

11

July, 2017

On 31st May 2017, I got the opportunity to experience Sabah’s yearly event, which is Harvest Festival or Kaamatan, which is held at Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA), Penampang. There are so many of people from all walks of life, including foreign visitors, who thronged to KDCA to witness and enjoy the celebration.

Apart from that, there were many vendors and information booths, which includes those put up by government departments, and various happenings being held in KDCA, such as the traditional games, cultural dance, and more.  

Kaamatan Celebration in KDCA 2017

A group of bobohizan performing a ritual to officiate the Kaamatan celebration.

Before I share my experience, let me explain to you what is Harvest Festival or Kaamatan. Harvest Festival or Kaamatan is the major festival of Sabah, which is celebrated annually, every 30th – 31st of May. However, it is widely celebrated throughout Sabah for the month of May, especially among the Kadazandusun tribe ( the largest indigenous ethnic group in Sabah). Harvest Festival or Kaamatan is a celebration to signify the beginning of the harvest of rice crops, and the Bobohizan (the female shamans of Sabah), played a major role in officiating the celebration.

It is also believed that the Harvest Festival is especially celebrated for the sacrifice of Kinoingan’s only daughter, Huminodun, for the love of her people, in order to stop famine. Huminodun’s body was cut into small pieces and it is believed her spirit is embodied in the rice and therefore known as Bambarayon or Bambazon.

Now, back to my story! 🙂

I went there in the morning and it was crowded with locals and tourists celebrating together on this event. Although it was crowded there, I still wanted to go around KDCA area, especially going into the traditional houses to see the unique cultural dances and costumes. That was considered my favorite part of this event because it really made me feel in awe watching the dance performances and different types of traditional outfits. Somehow, I feel like I wanted to wear my own traditional costume and walk around as well (hahaha!). However, I only got the chance to capture photos of locals wearing their own traditional attire.

Kaamatan Celebration in KDCA 2017

Traditional Dance Dusun Ranau

Kaamatan Celebration in KDCA 2017

Sabah’s Kadazandusun Culture. Photo by: Agustine Jumat

Kaamatan Celebration in KDCA 2017

A group of Dusun Tindal of Sabah. Photo by: riveldo

Kaamatan Celebration in KDCA 2017

One of the Kadazandusun smaller ethnic groups

Kaamatan Celebration in KDCA 2017

Murut Ethnic

Walking around the KDCA area, you will never miss hearing the Kaamatan songs or the sound of gongs. Not only that, you can see some people sang Kadazandusun karaoke songs, lots of dancing, and of course, drinking session – the focus of the event for all. There were so many food vendors there, which means a variety of food this year than ever before.

The smell of roasting meats, followed by a waft of smoke move through the air, it was no doubt the smell of smoked wild boar, lamb barbecue, traditional dishes, satay meats, burgers, fresh grilled seafood, fried foods, cute shapes of Pau, alcoholic beverages, and best of all, there were pork meats everywhere! Want to know how local Kadazandusun traditional looks like? click “Traditional Sabah Food that makes you drool”.

Kaamatan Celebration in KDCA 2017

Cute shapes of Pau.

Fried Squid

Kaamatan Celebration in KDCA 2017

Roast Chickens

Kaamatan Celebration in KDCA 2017

Pork Meats

Kaamatan Celebration in KDCA 2017

A local playing bamboo musical instrument

Moving on to the outdoor stage nearby, there were traditional games such as tug of war rope, arm wrestling, blow piping, stilt walking, and more, which provides a glimpse of how local spend their pastimes, as well as to entertain visitors. I did not manage to go to the KDCA Hall to watch the grand finale of Unduk Ngadau (Harvest Festival Beauty Pageant) because we need to buy the entrance fee ticket. So, I have to let go my decision to see Unduk Ngadau and continue going around the KDCA area.

One thing that fascinated me the most was the celebration of Harvest Festival or Kaamatan was happening during the beginning of Ramadan and it was raining in the evening, but the flow of visitors coming to KDCA did not stop, nor did it hinder our Malay friends to come over for the celebration as well! Apart from that, celebrating this event was truly a time for a reunion, because I was able to meet and get together with some of my longtime friends, school or childhood friends, which I did not see in my regular basis.

Check out the video below on how the celebration looks like on that day. 🙂

To know more about Harvest Festival or Kaamatan, feel free to read other blog entry on “Kaamatan Harvest Festival of Sabah, Borneo

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Desa Dairy Cattle Farm, Mesilau Highlands of Kundasang

Desa Dairy Cattle Farm, Mesilau Highlands of Kundasang

Desa Dairy Cattle Farm, Mesilau Highlands of Kundasang

07

July, 2017

If you’re planning a trip up to the Kundasang Highlands, there is a place that you shouldn’t miss visiting when you’re in Kundasang. Above the Highlands of Kundasang is the Desa Dairy Cattle Farm. 

If you’re planning a trip up to the Kundasang Highlands, there is a place that you shouldn’t miss visiting when you’re in Kundasang. Above the Highlands of Kundasang is the Desa Dairy Cattle Farm. If you ask me, I’d say it’s more than just your ordinary Cattle Farm as the place has one of the best views of Mount Kinabalu overlooking the green pastures and also the cool breeze and air to add up to the package. It’s not only about the beautiful panoramic views, you can also get the chance to experience first hand on how they milk the cows and process the milk.

Not to forget that you can also buy the freshly processed milk, a variety of cheese, and goat milk yogurts and the best part is, the delicious gelato ice cream. Head down from the main building and head straight to the feeding pen and feed the cute calves and goats. Trust me, if you are bringing your children, they’ll love it. In my opinion, the Desa Cattle Farm is one of the best places that I’ve visited so far. It is not only fun but it is also educational at the same time and for me, it is totally worth it!. So next time if you’re planning to head up to Kundasang, put the Desa Cattle Farm on your list as my words can’t fully describe on what I have experienced there, so I suggest that you should experience it for yourself.

Desa Dairy Cattle Farm

One of the amazing view of Mount Kinabalu at the Desa Cattle Farm. Nice right?

Sample some of the finest milks, yogurts and gelato ice cream in Sabah

You buy the Desa products here at the mini shop.

One of the activities there is you can feed the calf with a bottle of milk.

You can even get close to the calf. Don’t worry, they won’t bite…

To know more what you can do in Ranau, feel free to read our blog on “Don’t Miss this when you are in Ranau

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7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

06

July, 2017

Sabah is known for its reputation of being one of the worlds’ beautiful places, due to its naturally dense rainforest, tropical islands, and colorful cultural. While visiting Sabah, the eco-natural activities are not the only main reason for travelers to discover the beauty of Sabah. The historical buildings in Sabah are also one of the main factors that make it an amazing holiday destination trip.

No matter if you are a tourist or local who wants to get a dose of history from the past, it’s always good to know a thing or two about the history of the city that you are currently in. Check out the list below for my suggestion of historical buildings in Sabah that you should visit.

1. Sabah Tourism Board

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Old photo of Jesselton Post Office

Old Post Office Building, now is Sabah Tourism Board Building

One of the oldest building in Kota Kinabalu city. It is formerly known as Jesselton Post Office during the World War II (WWII), and it is fortunate enough to not be destroyed by the 1945 allied bombing in the Jesselton area back then. The Sabah Tourism Board building will be exactly 100 years old next year since its opening was officiated by governor Mr. Pearson on March 16, 1918.

2. Atkinson Clock Tower

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

The original look of Atkinson Clock Tower ( Photo by: Heritage Sabah)

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Atkinson Clock Tower now.

It is located on the bluff along the Signal Hill Road which is overlooking the capital city of Sabah. It used to be known as Atkinson Memorial Clock Tower, as it was built in the memory of Jesselton’s first district officer who died of Malaria at the age 28, Francis George Atkinson. The construction of Atkinson Clock Tower is unique because it is an all-wood and no-nails structure built by people of the past. The clock tower was used as a shipping navigation landmark in the 1900s, but now it serves as helping locals to be conscious of the local time in Sabah in order to assist them in their daily chores.

3. Deparment of Social Welfare

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Old Social Welfare building(Image source : TH YEE)

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Department of Social Welfare became an unofficial street art gallery.

It was constructed between 1918 – late 1920s, and it is one of the British Colonial building that survived in the 1945 allied bombing. It used to be Lands and Survey Department Building but was later changed to Department of Social Welfare. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by fire on December 31, 1992, and there is no development since then. In 2010, it became an un-official Street Art Graffiti Gallery, where the local artist used it as a canvas to express their art creativity, as well as preserving the historical site.

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4. Jesselton Hotel

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Picture of Jesselton Hotel on 28th November 1961.

(Photo source: Jabatan Penerangan Sabah)

Department of Social Welfare became an unofficial street art gallery.

Jesselton Hotel is the oldest and first modern hotel built after the World War II (WWII). Following the devastation of Jesselton town ( known as Kota Kinabalu now) at the end of WWII, Sir Herbert Ralph Hone, as the Colonial Governor of Jesselton, encouraged the British Hong Kong Chinese businessmen to invest and rebuild the Jesselton town area. Thus, the hotel was built in 1954 at Gaya Street and it attracts locals and tourists’ attention because of the structure building that gives a little touch of colonial and its doorman wearing a colonial uniform.

5. St. Michael’s and All Angels Church, Sandakan

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Old photo of St. Michael’s and All Angels Church, Sandakan

St. Michael’s and All Angels Church, Sandakan today.

The oldest stone church building in Sabah, and also a part of Sandakan Heritage Trails which connects few historical sights and monuments in Sandakan. The building was first constructed using ironwood timber, then followed by bricks, and finally stone. The church took more than 30 years to complete, started in 1893 and completed in 1906. The church manage to avoided major damage during WWII in the 1940s, and served as a resting place for Prisoners of War(POWs) who trekked the Sandakan Death March.

6. Agnes Keith House, Sandakan 

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Agnes Keith House, Sandakan

Agnes Keith is an American author, who wrote her life experience in North Borneo (now – Sabah). Her house was once a British Colonial Government Quarters, called Newlands, and now it is one of the famous landmarks in Sandakan. Agnes Keith and her family lived in the house until 1942 and came back to Borneo again after the WWII. However, they realised the house was burnt down due to the war and they rebuilt the house from scratch with the same design as the old one. Agnes Keith and her family continued to live there until they left Sabah in 1952. Today, the house was restored back after 50 years by Sabah Museum and opened for public in 2004. The house now turned into a museum portraying the life Agnes Keith and her family through documents, pictures, and portraits. Moreover, the house was furnished with colonial furniture and genuine antiques, which makes you feel like a step back in time to British colonial era.

7. Bellfry or Bell Tower, Tawau 

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Bellfry Tower in 1949. Photo source by e-tawau.

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Bellfry Tower today. Photo source by e-tawau.

The Belfry was constructed in 1921 by the prison labour, and it is the only historical building in Tawau to survive the WWII. It was built to commemorate the signing of Armistice following the World War I in 1918, when Japan was an ally of Great Britain. The bell tower was used to indicate the time back then, and the hours rung at intervals by the police guard. However, there is no bell in the bell tower now and it became a mystery in Tawau history.

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KAAMATAN LEGEND TO REALITY

KAAMATAN LEGEND TO REALITY

KAAMATAN LEGEND TO REALITY

29

May, 2017

Kotobian Tadau Tagazo do Kaamatan!

It’s that time of year again! Where everyone, near and far, young and old, gather together to celebrate Kaamatan or in English, Harvest Festival. It’s a celebration held annually in Sabah that has been on going for a long time. One of the most anticipated event of the year in Sabah, Kaamatan is more than just having fun together with your loved ones or catching up with long lost friends, it is to signify the beginning of harvest for all farmers in Sabah. That’s the gist of it. 

Kaamatan legend to reality

There is actually a legend behind the reason why the Kadazan Dusun community celebrates Harvest Festival like there’s no tomorrow. Long time ago, Kinoingan and his people were caught in famine. Not only crops were dying, but women and children were dying due to starvation. Huminodun, daughter of Kinoingan was sad and disheartening to see the villagers and her father wrecking his head trying to find a solution.

Huminodun was the most beautiful women anyone has ever laid eyes on. Not only was she breathtaking, she was wise beyond her age that many people from near and far adored her. Men would stop whatever they were doing whenever she passed by them and fall in love with her instantaneously.

Kinoingan knew his last hope to save his people was to sacrifice a maiden of pure heart and mind to Mother Nature for harvest and food to his people. Huminodun, with no fear, offered herself to save her father’s people from famine. Kinoingan was against the idea of course, but Huminodun never changed her grounds and persuaded her father. After awhile, with a heavy heart, Kinoingan agreed. Clearing the land with his supernatural powers, he cleared the land so big you couldn’t see the end of it. The time came for Huminodun’s body to be a sacrifice to Mother Nature.

Walking slowly to the cleared land with her head held high, Huminodun walked before everyone with Kinoingan walking several feet behind. Suminundu, Huminodun’s mother, was weeping beside herself together with the villagers and their children, sadden to see such beauty and kind-heartedness do such a huge sacrifice in order for them to live on and have a future.

Kaamatan legend to reality

Digital artwork called Huminodun by Sabah-born artist Yee I-Lann. 

Huminodun arrived in the middle of the cleared land and turned around to face her father, Kinoingan, and said, “My body will give life to many plants for the people; my flesh turn to rice; my head, coconut trees; my bones, to be tapioca; my knees, yam; my teeth, corn; and my toes, ginger. Follow these steps and our people will never come to the point of starvation anymore”, said Huminodun to her father.

Huminodun warned her father to follow several rules to a tee. The rules are, when her body parts have been scattered all over the cleared land, nobody is to come and see her for seven days and seven nights. Once the paddy (rice) has ripened, seven stalks of paddy are to be taken and tied to one end of a spliced bamboo and planted at the center of the paddy field before harvesting any of the paddies. After doing this, only can they start harvesting. After the harvest is done, the bamboo stick with the seven paddy stalks is to be placed in a tangkob (paddy storage container). All work put in during the first day of harvest is to be kept in the Kakanan (big jar). All first-year harvest are not to be given away to anyone, and let any remaining paddy grains turn bad (which is why, to this day, Kadazan Dusun community has never given away their first year’s harvest). However, you can do anything you want to the second year harvest. 

Kinoingan agreed to Huminodun’s instructions. With a heavy heart, he proceeded to sacrifice his only daughter. As he sacrificed her, the sky turned black, there was lightning all around and thunder clapping from near and far, the earth below him shook and rumbled. The rain came pouring down like never before, soaking the earth with its moisture and washing away all the past torments Mother Nature has given them. Life was reborn. As told by Huminodun, plants of many sorts began to grow where her blood and flesh touched the soil.

That year, Kinoingan and his people saw a great harvest that never in their life had they ever seen before. In respect of Huminodun’s wishes, Kinoingan did exactly as what Huminodun requested. The seven paddy stalks were to honor the seven Bambaazon, the paddy spirit. As for the paddy in the Kakanan (big jar), a beautiful maiden rose out from the jar on the seventh day. She was the beautiful Huminodun, resurrected as a spirit to help and care for her people. She was called Unduk Ngadau. It was her spirit that first taught and guided the Bobohizan (high priestesses) in their chants and rituals, and that is how the spiritual traditions of our people begun. 

This is the reason why Kaamatan Festival plays such a vital role in each Sabahan native’s hearts. The main part of Kaamatan Festival is to honor the legendary Huminodun, who gave up her life in order for her people to survive. Hence why Unduk Ngadau Beauty Pageant plays a grand part during Harvest Festival. It is to commemorate Huminodun’s everlasting youth, selflessness, beauty, and love for her father’s people. It is a sacred title and great honor to be dubbed as the next Unduk Ngadau winner as she will represent the whole essence of Huminodun. Her gift to us all remains in our hearts to remind us the importance of sincerity, bravery, caring, selflessness, and love.

Kaamatan legend to reality
Kaamatan legend to reality

Interested to know more on Kaamatan or Harvest Festival? Come and join us to celebrate this yearly event of Sabah together in Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) Sabah on 30th – 31st May. For more inquiry, feel free to contact us here.

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Sabah Colloquial – “Bah”

Sabah Colloquial – “Bah”

Sabah Colloquial – “BAH”

13

May, 2017

Every place you visit, you are sure to hear or capture local people conversing in their national language or mother tongue. Our national language is Bahasa Melayu, but travel to all states, and you will realize that each state has its own usage of colloquial phrases.

It’s good to know one or two words to help you build a stronger bond with the locals while you’re here, and make you feel right at home. So let’s get started!

Most common one you can catch up on with is the use “Bah”. It’s one of the most common colloquial words used in Sabah which has tons of meaning and can be used in both Bahasa Melayu or English! Depending on the situation in hand and context, the meaning of the word varies.

EXAMPLE

 

As a final say that could be either yes, or no

e.g. Want to grab a coffee?

       Bah, let’s go!  or  Bah, you go la. I don’t want coffee.

To show anger or disapproval

e.g. Bah, if you want to go, you go lah bah. Why you want to wait for me? 

or 

Bah, since yu don’t want to listen, don’t ask for my opinion!

To stress on or emphasize said statement, situation and/or object

e.g. I don’t want to go baaah… How many times do I need to tell you. 

or 

Can we sit outside? It’s so cold bah inside… Can la bah, please.

As a conjunction

e.g. Bah, how you want to go about this situation now? 

or Bah, what time is your flight from Kota Kinabalu International Airport?

On its own (which means ‘okay’)

e.g. Let’s watch a movie tonight!

       “Bah.”

It might seem easy to use the word, but newbies tend to overuse it. But not to worry! We all learn through mistakes, so have fun with it while you visit Sabah! Planning to travel to Sabah? Check out our offer to you on Sabah Tour.

To know more how to speak “Bah” when you are in Sabah, check this video below by Adam Tambakau on “How to use Bah?” :

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WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL WITH YOUR FAMILY?

WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL WITH YOUR FAMILY?

WHY SHOULD YOU TRAVEL WITH YOUR FAMILY?

12

May, 2017

Traveling can be life changing…

Where you get to kick back, relax, and rediscover your true self. Yet, we tend to put off traveling plans due to bearing the responsibility as a parent, work obligations, finances, and/or some other reason. However, you shouldn’t allow all these reasons to hinder you from traveling, especially if you have kids.

I love traveling with my family. Every year we will always have plans to go somewhere together for the holidays, be it an overnight in Kundasang, Ranau, or a week in Sandakan. It is always fun when you are traveling with your family.

Here’s why you should go traveling with your family:

1) Best Family Bonding Experience

Going for a movie night or having dinner together, could be a good family bonding time. However, traveling with family is definitely the best time to bond, as it reinforces the fact that quality time spent together is essential. Traveling with family could help cut out from all the distraction of school, work, digital world, and more. You will have the chance to sit down and have a conversation with your children or vice-versa without being interrupted in new and exciting places.

2) Create Fond Memories Together

Years from now, when you look at the album or your vacation videos, you will eventually relive the wonderful memories of your vacation with your family. Memories with family are to be cherished and remembered for as long as you live. Moreover, the best and unforgettable memories are made when they occur unexpectedly.

Who could forget the time when my brother was showing his stunt splash jumping into the swimming pool but it went wrong, as he accidentally slipped due to the slippery deck. Ouch! Or even during our family trip to Manila a few years back, we won’t forget the crumbling feeling we felt in the pit of our stomachs when we realized that we’d gotten lost somewhere in the city as we made our way back to the hotel.

3) Break Away from Stress and Relax

Traveling with a family will definitely put aside the daily routines in our lives, and allow us to enjoy and relax on the trip together. Most families will spend their days with work deadlines, school activities, extracurricular activities, household duties and errands, which resulted in stress to our daily lives. Having stress in our lives can be good, but too much stress without any relaxation could lead to harmful health. Thus, a break from the busy and repetitive daily routines, even if it is only a weekend getaway, could help to relieve the stress.

4) A Chance to Learn and Experince New Things

There is no doubt that you and your family will learn and experience different things while taking your family to travel out of state, or just around the corner. For example, if you and your family are traveling in Sabah Borneo, drop by to Mari-Mari Cultural Village where your family can experience Borneo culture, people, and languages first-hand, in order to change their perception of the world around them. Not forgetting, kids being the observant ones, will cherish and appreciate more the new things that they have experienced, in which they will share their experiences with friends or peers alike.

Two months ago, I have joined a private family tour to Weston River Cruise for work purposes. I can see that the children were so excited to see the Proboscis Monkeys and Fireflies in real life. Thus, this new experience could lead the children to easily express themselves more knowing that they have experienced something different. (Stay tuned for my next blog post, I’ll be talking about my experience joining in the private family tour to Weston River Cruise)

5) Becomes a Model Problem Solver for Your Kids

No traveling experience is perfect, even traveling with family too! Unfortunate events can sometimes occur that you and your family didn’t plan for. Either the flights got delayed, your kids get sick, a flat tire before reaching to a destination, traffic jams, or weather change, can disrupt your meticulously thought-out plan. These situations are unavoidable, and parents will be put in the position to deal with this kind of situation on the spot. This is a good opportunity for the parents to be a real-life model problem solver for the kids, which will let them adapt the situation easily through understanding self-reliance and encourage them to be independent.

Having read those 5 reasons why you should travel with family; – does it trigger you to plan your next travel adventure? And this time, with your family? Do consider bringing your little ones too for a staycation, weekend getaway, a short out-of-town trip and/or adventure travel. Traveling with family creates unforgettable memories, so do cherish it while you can. You can read our blog on our 5 quick tips about family travel in Borneo

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